You may not know it, but there are so many things you can achieve in life just by improving your thought life. Let me share with you two basic concepts that are related to the way you think about yourself and the achievement of personal greatness.
1. Think differently and uniquely
Those who achieve personal greatness think differently and uniquely. They value their distinct selves– they do not see themselves as followers of predetermined cultural norms.
How do you think? The way everybody else does? According to world systems? According to the culture portrayed on television or in movies?
Refuse to accept the current status of your thought life. Re-evaluate how you think and why you think the way you do.
Choose to think
• Differently: Choose to think out of your values, not out of cultural norms. Choose to think at the highest end of values, not at the level of the least common denominator.
• Uniquely : Embrace your originality and creativity.
Every person is unique –one of a kind; but we all operate under unchanging natural laws. Gravity is gravity. God’s natural laws are universal, from one generation to the next and from one culture to the next. His laws are absolute. But the application of His principles–the manifestation of His grace, purpose, and plan–is distinctively unique to each person. God never does the same thing twice in precisely the same way. Through nature, He makes billions upon billions of snowflakes every winter, and the general characteristics of these snowflakes are alike in the basics of design, function and origin. Yet every snowflake is unique–a one-of-a-kind design that has never been seen before and will never be seen again.
People are alike in many ways–we all have hearts and brains and fears and hopes. Yet every person is unique, a one-of-a-kind creation with a completely original DNA pattern. No two fingerprints or handprints are alike, no two footprints are alike, no two voiceprints are alike, no two patterns in the iris of the eye are alike, and no two sets of circumstances or composite sets of life experiences are exactly alike. Each person lives in a unique context of time and space from the moment of birth.
And so, too, our thinking is unique. Each person has a unique, one-of-a-kind set of dreams, goals, desires, propensities and wishes. You may have some dreams in common with others, but your dream for your life will always have unique components to it, and your overall set of dreams, goals, and desires will be unique. Dreams and goals will be in varying combinations, with emphases on distinct areas. Your imagination will be directed into unique ideas.
We have all heard the comment: “There’s nothing new under the sun.” That is true in a general way. It is equally true that everything is new under the sun. Millions upon millions of never before-uttered sentences are going to be spoken today, in contexts that have never been experienced before, by people who know the same basic vocabulary words but who string them together in original ways. Poets are going to spin old, familiar words into new combinations. Artists are going to use the age-old spectrum of colour and light to create works that have never been seen before. Musicians are going to use a very limited number of notes on the musical scale to create new tunes.
Open your mind to your unique thoughts–thoughts that are different from those of the world at large; thoughts that are different from those of the person in the cubicle next to you, thoughts that may seem completely “out of the box” even to you!
Dare to think thoughts and dream dreams that are not mundane and ordinary.
2. Embrace the renewing of your thoughts
Those who achieve personal greatness constantly pursue a renewal of their minds. Your mental transformation requires your participation. Renewal is not something that happens instantly or apart from your will. Renewal is a process that follows a certain pattern. It requires reflection upon the very best of ideas. It requires application–it requires that you act on the best of what you know. Much of what you learn comes through doing.
If I tell you something, you have only a 50 percent chance of remembering it. If I tell you something, as I illustrate what I say, you have an 80 percent likelihood of remembering it. But if you act on something I tell you and show you – if you do something, and especially if you do it at your own initiation,you are nearly 100 percent likely to remember it.
Have you ever been in the grip of something sinister, such as a drug addiction, alcoholism, or deep debt? If you have, you know that it is difficult to think at length about something other than the problem. The problem is always present, frequently coming to mind through recurring urges or fears.
Numerous other obsessions and desires are less intense, but nonetheless ingrained in our thought processes. Greed for things we want to own, lust for a person who is not rightfully ours, an insatiable desire for power or fame, a compelling drive toward manipulation or conquest, in order to elevate our self-importance–all of these thoughts tend to grab hold of the mind and refuse to let go. They become our reasons for being–more money, more promotions, more visibility, more possessions, more authority, more awards.
I certainly believe we are to be blessed materially. I also clearly recognise that organisations are based upon line authority and that organisational charts have value in getting a task accomplished. I am in favour of self-improvement and personal growth. But when any self-gratifying or self-glorifying desire begins to take over a person’s thought process, that person is in need of renewal.
As stated earlier, the renewal process involves two basic steps: reflection upon doing the right things, and active engagement in doing the right things.
The Bible gives directives about the thought life: “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy– meditateon these things” (Philippians 4:8).
It is up to you to choose what you will think about. It is up to you to choose the subjects on which you will allow your mind to dwell. It is up to you to choose the topics about which you will study, discuss, or daydream. Take charge of your thought processes. Actively and intentionally choose only the very best input to your mind.
Culled from Achieving Personal Greatness by Tim Lavender